Merrick: We lacked edge

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick was left to lament a host of missed opportunities that cost his side the chance to pick up a deserved three points after they went down 1-0 to Gold Coast United at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick was left to lament a host of missed opportunities that cost his side the chance to pick up a deserved three points after they went down 1-0 to Gold Coast United at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Striker Archie Thompson made a successful return after his injury layoff with 45 minutes off the bench but aside from that it was a forgettable night for Merrick's men, who dominated the match for the most part, leading him to question his side's clinical edge in the final third.

"It all comes down to the front third … to scoring goals and that's the real frustration here, so having Archie back is a big plus," Merrick said.

"We've really got to score goals and perform consistently particularly in the front third, it's not like we're conceding goals left right and centre, the only goal was an own goal but we've really got to consistently perform to win back-to-back games," he said.

Rody Vargas' own goal on 55 minutes was all that separated the sides and although Victory continued to press after the set back, a breakthrough was not forthcoming.

"It was a very frustrating result," Merrick bemoaned. "It surprised us from the point of view that Gold Coast came out and tried to defend and play a counter-attacking game, not their normal game with flair."

"That gave us the initiative in the first 15 minutes, we virtually played the ball in their half, had several chances and didn't take them."

"When we went one down they just completely defended after that so it was very blocked up on the edge of the penalty area, they had nine players there."

Despite the disappointing loss Merrick was delighted with the return of star striker Archie Thompson, whose night's work he described as 'excellent'.

"We were only going to give him half an hour but I thought: 'I'll stick him on at-half time and if we need to we'll take him off in the last 15 (minutes)', we saved Marvin (Angulo) for that. He felt good he was causing trouble up front," he explained.

"I thought Archie made an enourmous difference when he came on but that's when Robbie (Kruse) virtually got injured and struggled through, I thought Carlos didn't have his best game, he found it very difficult to find space and put quality balls through."

Kruse, who'd been on fire with four goals from his past four outings, struggled with a thigh complaint soon after Thompson's introduction and joins fellow striker Ricardinho on the injury list.

Merrick said he didn't know the extent of Kruse's injury but admitted 'it didn't look good' while he said defender Matthew Kemp would return in the National Youth League on Sunday and could feature in next week's clash at home to Central Coast Mariners.